Both Prisoners of War and refugees found a place to stay in Okehampton during the First World War.
During the First World War we know that many Belgian refugees were placed in the town.
Alice Clapp, one of the women responsible for arranging homes for Belgian refugees in Devon, maintained a logbook detailing Belgian refugees accommodated in the area.
Housing, clothes and food were provided by local people and money was raised to support the refugees during their stay.
It was noted in the Western Times on 21st October 1914 that meetings were held to determine how refugees would be looked after:
‘A well-attended public meeting was held in the Town Hall, Okehampton, on Monday evening, to consider the question of providing accommodation for one or more families of Belgian refugees. The Mayor (General Holley) presided, and said Okehampton should do its share for this most deserving cause, and to the citizens to whom we all owed so much. At least ten families should be accommodated, and this could easily be done if all set to work, and gave it their whole-hearted support. It was therefore resolved that Okehampton should take some refugees, and that a committee be appointed to look after them. A committee of 16 ladies and gentlemen was appointed. Weekly subscriptions were solicited, and responses to the amount of £4 10s per week was the result of the evening’s meeting, together with offers of furniture, bedding, etc, on loan. A vote of thanks was accorded the Mayor for presiding, and the meeting closed with the singing of ‘God Save the King.’
One such house in North Tawton is still known as Belgium House to this day.